NASA Wants To Develop A 3D Pizza Printer
NASA is getting to work on funding research that they hope will lead to a 3D printer capable of creating food fit for human consumption:
NASA has doled out a research grant to develop a prototype 3D printer for food, so astronauts may one day enjoy 3D-printed pizza on Mars.
Anjan Contractor, a senior mechanical engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), based in Austin, Texas, received a $125,000 grant from the space agency to build a prototype of his food synthesizer, as was first reported by Quartz.
NASA hopes the technology may one day be used to feed astronauts on longer space missions, such as the roughly 520 days required for a manned flight to Mars. Manned missions to destinations deeper in the solar system would require food that can last an even longer amount of time.
“Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” Contractor told Quartz. “The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”
Dividing the various components of food in powder cartridges would theoretically enable users to mix them together, like the ingredients in normal recipes, to create a diverse array of nutritious meals.
To prove his idea works, Contractor printed chocolate. Now, he’s aiming to build a more advanced prototype to print a pizza, according to Quartz.
The system will start by “printing” a sheet of dough, followed by a layer of tomato “sauce,” which will consist of the powder mixed with water and oil. Instead of traditional toppings, the 3D-printed pizza will be finished off with a layer of protein, which can be derived from animals, milk or plants, Contractor told Quartz.
While NASA sees applications for 3D printers on future manned space missions, Contractor said his food synthesizer could also be an effective way of addressing the problem of food shortages from rapid population growth.
The important question, of course, is whether this will be 3D New York Style pizza, or 3D Chicago Style pizza.
H/T: Ed Morrissey